In 1988, Jiří Kylián – a Czech dancer, choreographer and long-time director of the Nederlands Dans Theater – founded the Kylián Foundation in The Hague, Netherlands. From the outset, its aim was to support and connect artists from around the world, with different political, social, religious or cultural structures, and to encourage innovation and creativity.
In May 1991, the Kylián Foundation Prague was opened at the Theater Institute in Prague, with the personal participation of Jiří Kylián. The newly-established foundation differed from other foundations that were active at that time in Czechoslovakia, in that it did not receive direct financial support from individuals or projects, but rather practical and moral assistance from the Kylián Foundation and Dance Institute in Amsterdam. These activities included, among other things, internships and exchange stays for dance teachers, choreographers and performers.
In 1998, the cooperation between the Theatre Institute and the Kylián Foundation Prague entered a new phase. The Czech dance environment had changed greatly over the years and it was no longer necessary to arrange the artists' connections with foreign countries. The Foundation, therefore, became increasingly focused on awareness-raising and educational activities – as well as on counselling – and the name was changed to the Kylián Videotheque. It was based on an extensive collection of dance-related videos from abroad as well as from the Czech Republic. The videotheque successfully operated in cooperation with the Theatre Institute (later the Arts and Theatre Institute) for another 15 years.
In October 2012, the Kylián Videotheque moved to the library in the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (HAMU). By merging the collection of the HAMU library with the Kylián Videotheque, a centre for the promotion and support of dance was created and named the Kylián Dance Center and Library. Other materials – audio recordings, collections of professional magazines, theatre programs of Czech and foreign ensembles, posters, musicals, teaching materials, photographs, theatre posters and the personal archives of Jiří Kylián, Markéta Kyliánová and other prominent personalities – were added to the already-established video collection.
In June 2017, the Kylián Fund Prague was founded with the support of the Kylián Foundation in the Netherlands. Kylián Dance Center and Library became the Kylián Dance Archive. The collections are open to both the lay and professional public throughout the year.